There is always a lot more to a classic song than just notes on a page. For the artists who write them, it is your heart and soul that you lay bare on the tape, hoping it will register with the fans you have cultivated all these years. Other times, however, the songs end up falling from the sky whether you like it or not.
Yeah … the real songs that touch the heart won’t be found here. Many of these songs tend to be songs that were made at the last minute or were written on a whim in the middle of a writing session. The artists themselves may not even have known what they were dealing with when they wrote these texts, most of them not really thinking about the transfer to the page.
But we thank the songwriting heavens for being able to capture them when they did, most of those songs becoming some of the best tracks they’ve ever recorded. While you can take pride in getting the perfect lyrics for your song, sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time.
For your average rock fan, most people think it takes something special to write a classic melody. No matter how talented you think you have, sometimes the stars have to line up at exactly the right time for everything to actually click in the studio. Or if you’re Procol Harum, make mistakes until you get a hit.
While A Whiter Shade of Pale seems to have been around since the beginning of time, the actual construction of the song came from the pianist who missed his classic warm-ups. Browsing through the classic piece Air on a G String, Gary Brooker talked about slaughtering the opening bars and (not knowing where to go from there) decided to go on and see where the music took him. Using the opening chord as a starting point, he slowly transformed Bach’s classic piece into the great ’60s hymn we know today.
Even when discussing it today, Brooker almost denies even writing the song at this point, believing it to be more about being in the right place at the right time rather than anything that could have happened in purpose. It pays to learn from your influences, but in this case, going halfway might not be so bad either.